Think outside the softbox

Written by Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén on . Posted in Fashion photography, Lighting tips, Off-camera flash, RFi, The light shaper

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The fact that the softbox is such a common tool doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with it. To prove this we asked Andrea Belluso to do four different fashion setups using nothing but softboxes.

We all know the softbox. When it comes to Light Shaping Tools, it might very well be the most popular and most widely used. But the fact that we see it and use it so often can sometimes make us forget what a versatile and creative tool the softbox actually is.

First of all, there are many different sizes and shapes of softboxes to choose from. Secondly, you can position and direct the softbox in many different ways, which will create very different lighting effects. Put it to the side of your model. Put it above. Direct it straight at your model or feather it and use the fall off. Almost anything is possible with a softbox.

To prove this we asked light shaping guru Andrea Belluso to do four different fashion setups using only softboxes in an out of the box kind of way.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Andrea came up with four unique solutions. He tethered up with his Phase One XF and TetherPro USB 3.0 SuperSpeed and set to work. He used the softbox as side light, he used the softbox as top light, he used it to create a hard light, and he used it as back light to create an even softer light.

How did he do it? Keep reading and we’ll go through each setup one at a time.

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Andrea Belluso’s clever solution for shooting shiny surfaces

Written by Andrea Belluso on . Posted in The light shaper

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© Andrea Belluso

© Andrea Belluso

Andrea Belluso is an experienced photographer with more than three decades in the business. Every now and then, Andrea takes us behind the scenes of a recent shoot to share some of the knowledge he has gained over the years. This time he gets out of the comfort zone and shoots something he’s never done before. Here’s his story about it. 

Something strange happened. I was asked to do something I have never done before: shooting kitchen appliances and wash machines. This is also something that is extremely specialized in terms of lighting because of all the highly reflective surfaces involved.

The client was Electrolux and the brief made me feel a bit more at home since it was involving lifestyle with some models. The project was to promote their range of compact kitchen appliances. The images will feature in a trend report and on social media channels to highlight global urbanization and how this impacts sustainability and the effect on the size of our living spaces. This means that it is also a subject matter that I found interesting.

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Andrea “The Light Shaper” Belluso creates the hardest light possible

Written by Andrea Belluso on . Posted in The light shaper, Videos

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Andrea Belluso is an experienced photographer with more than three decades in the business. Every now and then, Andrea takes us behind the scenes of a recent shoot to share some of the knowledge he has gained over the years. This time we get to join him on a sunny beach in Dubai, using a selection of Hard Reflectors to create a super hard light.

Shooting cars has never been my thing. I shoot a lot of fashion, beauty and lifestyle, sometimes portraits and editorials too. But cars? No.

So when Gulf Photo Plus contacted me and told me that Cadillac Arabia wanted me to do a commercial job for them, I hesitated. Sure, they wanted fashion and lifestyle like pictures. But there obviously needed to be a large, shiny car in the image too. This was definitely a job way outside my comfort zone.

But then I started thinking. I’ve been a photographer for more than three decades now. I understand light. I know how to light. All I had to do was to apply that knowledge to a slightly different situation. I would be like a little lighting adventure! Plus, leaving your comfort zone is good, right? If I wanted to take the safe route, I would’ve listened to my mother’s advice and chosen a different career path all those years ago…

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Using Strip Softboxes to create a aramatic portrait on location

Written by Andrea Belluso on . Posted in The light shaper

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Andrea Belluso is an experienced photographer with more than three decades in the business. Once a month, Andrea takes us behind the scenes of a recent shoot to share some of the knowledge he has gained over the years. This time he brings strip softboxes to a murky hangar to shoot an elegant yet dramatic portrait of an old friend of his.

Flying gliders and taking pictures are two of my greatest passions in life. Being able to combine these two passions is even better! So, needless to say, the day I photographed my old friend and flying instructor Peder Ek (who also happens to be a great photographer) at our flying club was a pretty awesome day at work.

As if that wasn’t enough, I wasn’t just taking Peder’s portrait. At the same time, I was also shooting the finest aircraft we have at our flying club – the two-seated glider Dou Discus. She is such a beauty!

Right from the start I knew I wanted the image to be an elegant and timeless yet dramatic portrait of an experienced pilot and his beloved flying machine. In short, I wanted something that made Peder justice. He is a thoughtful and straightforward kind of guy. The image should be the same.

So how did I do that?

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“The Light Shaper” battles the forces of nature with flashes and Collapsible Reflectors

Written by Andrea Belluso on . Posted in The light shaper

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Andrea Belluso is an experienced photographer with more than three decades in the business. Once a month, Andrea takes us behind the scenes of a recent shoot to share some of the knowledge he has gained over the years. Today, we join him on a challenging on-location shoot where the forces of nature seem to conspire against him.

There are days when the whole world seems to smile upon you. But there are also days when the forces of nature seem to conspire against you. This shoot belongs in the latter category…

The shoot was done at Långtora Airfield outside Stockholm, which is the airfield where my gliding club is based. The look we were going for was a modern version of the flying ladies of the 1940s. Quite a few of the classic Hollywood stars flew gliders. The particular glider we were borrowing for this shoot was used by the Danish air force during the 1940s to train fighter pilots. Some people at the club claim that the gilder was once flown by Greta Garbo. But that fact is still to be verified…

Lighting-wise, we planned to shoot with sunlight and Collapsible Reflectors only. I wanted a subtle and natural backlight in the images, and Collapsible Reflectors are great for that. The fact that Profoto offer ten different Collapsible Reflectors in six fabrics (black, white, silver, sunsilver, gold and translucent) would be helpful, as that allowed us to create different light characters and moods by simply replacing one Collapsible Reflector with another.

That was the plan. But as it turned, the forces of nature refused to cooperate. Read more